From November 25 to 30, Université Total was welcoming for the first time in Paris 52 professors from 44 universities in 21 countries for a week of conferences and discussions on energy and education.
The attendees, most of whom specialize in scientific fields related to energy, or in economics or management, shared their views with some 20 Total senior executives and outside experts.
List of the universities
University M’Hamed Bougara of Boumerdes
Agostinho Neto University
Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires
Universidad de Buenos Aires
University of Calgary
University of Alberta
China University of Petroleum-Beijing
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Ecole Centrale Lyon
Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (cycle de Menton)
Ecoles des Mines de Nancy
Hochschule Merseburg (FH) University of Applied Science
Aachen University of Applied Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur
Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay
Institut Teknologi Bandung
University of Indonesia
Petroleum University of Technology
University of Sulaimani
SDA Bocconi (School of Management)
Catholic University of Milan and Insubria University
El Fateh University
University of Port Harcourt
Rivers State University of Science and Technology
Institutt for kjemisk prosessteknologi/NTNU
University of Stavanger
Saint-Petersburg State Mining Institute
Bauman Moscow State Technical University
University of the Witwatersrand
University of Cape Town
Universidad Pontificia Comillas
Middle East Technical University
University of Manchester
Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración
Universidad Simón Bolivar
Universidad Central de Venezuela
Questions for Nathalie Fokart
Director, Université Total
What’s the common thread between the Total Summer School, the MIT senior executive seminar and the climate change conference?
Each of those programs is inspired by a commitment to thinking about and discussing issues that are not only of great interest to Total, but are increasingly a matter of public debate. Our operations involve all sorts of human, geopolitical, technological and environmental aspects that are often closely interwoven and can’t be managed by executives all on their own.
Université Total’s multidisciplinary approach and mix of both in-house and public speakers and participants make it an ideal place to study and gain perspective on these often complex issues.
How do you make this commitment to outreach work?
Whatever the topic, we favor an approach that combines different angles and a variety of scientific, economic and sociological disciplines. We try to tailor our teaching methods—courses, lectures, internships—to the subject and target audience. This can lead to some pretty unusual situations: the Total Summer School invites students into our facilities, while the MIT seminar sends Total executives off to spend a week on a university campus. In both cases, it expands their point of view. The Climate Change Conference was another attempt to break down the walls between specialties, by asking the leading stakeholders—climatologists, companies and government representatives—to come and present their insights. Incidentally, the conference inspired additional meetings on climate change across our operations. The fact that we can repeat and tailor some Université Total events at the request of the business units helps ground our projects in the day-to-day realities of the Group.
And how do you incorporate this open approach to headline issues like ethics or the environment into your internal training programs?
The Université offers a full range of courses about our ethics, environmental, community relations and industrial safety policies. Some are general and interdisciplinary, while others, like business ethics, security and human rights, industrial safety and environmental management, delve into a specific topic in more detail. Several are held in our subsidiaries to promote local presence and dialogue. The same topics are also discussed extensively in the management training and integration programs deployed by the corporate or business training departments and are part of the Université curriculum.
Université Total deals with topics that are rich, diverse and very international. How will you be able to maintain the momentum?
Our initiatives are meant to be constantly updated, since they only make sense if they are pursued over the long term. The Total Summer School will become a regular event and the success of our first session has led us to invite more students. We will continue sponsoring conferences to encourage discussion and debate on social and community issues, such as diversity, and on environmental and technological issues. For geopolitical topics, we’re working on a two-day seminar dedicated to Africa, which will alternate between country analyses and discussions on regional or social trends.
Moreover, a number of projects are giving rise to others, that build on the original. A seminar scheduled for late 2007 on energy and education is expected to draw 50 teachers from around the world.
Curiosity and the thirst for knowledge will be powerful incentives to inspire future programs.